Anthropologists have gone back and forth as to whether animals grieve. They seem—almost as if intentionally—to miss the point.
The famous Japanese dog Hachikō’s lifelong devoted vigil at the train station is touching in part because he could not know that his human friend had actually died:
Death, after all, is an abstraction. We can be told that someone has died and, without seeing the person’s body, we know what that means. We also know that all human beings (and all animals) will die sometime. But that is an abstraction too. For humans, mourning is a philosophical as well as an emotional affair. As a result, death raises questions about the meaning of life which Harper, the monkeys, and Hachiko could never ask.
It is these thoughts and questions, not only grief, that have always underlain funeralsDenyse O’Leary, “Do animals truly grieve when other animals die?” at Mind Matters News
Other articles you might enjoy on animal mind and animal intelligence:
The real reason why only human beings speak. Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly (Michael Egnor)
Mirror, mirror, am I a self? Scientists ponder, how would animals show self-awareness? (Denyse O’Leary)